Paul Andrews

Archive for the ‘Bicycling’ Category

And the mystery is what?

In Bicycling on December 16, 2009 at 12:09 am

New York Times: “Why a Toronto man stole 2,865 bicycles last year remained a mystery on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to reduced charges… While various theories have been floated about his plans for the bikes, he declined an invitation by the judge to make a statement.”

Igor likes bikes!

Livin' the dream...

Why make this more complicated than it is? Like many of us, the guy likes bikes, that’s all there is to it. His passion got a little out of control is all…

Daily Roundup: Drunkcyclist in Skagit, Palo Alto Bicycles founder, new Momentum editor and more…

In Bicycling, Mountain Biking on December 15, 2009 at 12:38 pm

DrunkCyclist is in Skagit Valley. What is he thinking!

Fat Cyclist continues to live the dream!

RC reviews the new Stan’s ZTR Crest wheelset and Raven tires… perceptive comments as always.

Bernie Hoffacker, founder of Palo Alto Bicycles and an industry icon, died December 5 at Stanford Hospital. Back in the day, Palo Alto Bicycles and Ric and Jon Hjertberg’s Wheelsmith a couple blocks away made Palo Alto one of the coolest places on earth. Palo Alto Bicycles had the classiest mail order catalog anywhere, helping to fuel the bike boom of the ’70s, and its posters of Tour legends and local wheel-building icon Jobst Brandt riding the Swiss Alps still hang in my basement.

It was during the Tour when PA Bikes became a real gathering place. You have to remember, there was no TV coverage or even mention of the Tour. Newspapers ran nothing, not even results.

So every afternoon we’d gather at Palo Alto Bicycles (or Wheelsmith) for results, usually posted on a small piece of paper tacked to a bulletin board or wall. And then we’d debate about who was going to win and fantasize what it would be like to be following the peloton through the mountains.

We never thought we’d get live coverage of the Tour each day, or be able to chatter on our keyboards via the Internet. We were happy just for the stage winners and Top 10 overalls. Thanks to Palo Alto Bicycles for feeding the mind, inspiring the soul and supplying the kit over the years. Twitter tributes here.

New editor at Momentum magazine. The redoubtable Amy Walker will step aside to focus on creative direction, while the former Web editor, Sarah Ripplinger, takes over the helm. Whatever the challenges of print publishing these days, Momentum’s a great group and has a good bead on bike culture. We wish them well for 2010.

Merry Cycling Christmas: Unsucky Stocking Stuffers

In Bicycling, Equipment reviews, Mountain Biking on December 14, 2009 at 1:24 am

First off, I’m not a fan of stocking stuffers, generally speaking. If something isn’t worth putting under the tree, then really, why bother? Think about it: Growing up, did you ever get a stocking stuffer you really got excited about?

Again, it all goes back to our opening theme of want v. need. Stocking stuffers almost always were things we needed. Underwear. Gloves. Ear muffs. Junk.

So with that in mind, here are some ideas for last minute stocking stuffers that could just as easily serve as a standalone present too. Your choice.

Joe Bender Mountain Bike. I don’t know why I like this little guy so much, but he’s a great companion for the desk or bookshelf or cabinet or workshop, wherever. I have 3 or 4 Joe Benders. You can twist him into all kinds of positions. I even got him doing a flip whip. It’s all made possible by strategically placed magnets on the wheels and frame of the bike. From HogWildToys. You can get them at REI for around $10.

Joby Gorillapods. I carry one of these versatile, flexy tripods with me in my bladder pack for photos when I’m riding solo and want to be in the shot. They’re great. They grab onto anything from a bush sprig to a playground handrail and hold the camera well. They come in different sizes depending on weight and bulk of your camera; I’ve even used one for my camcorder. Useful well beyond cycling expeditions too. Price varies from $23 to $80 depending on size. Also from REI.

Mountainsmith Cyber II recycled camera case. The best camera cases I’ve found because they double-velcro over a backpack strap for extra strength and security and have two ways of enclosing the camera, a quick-release velcro flap and a zipper. I’ve crashed I don’t know how many times and, although my ribs will attest I’ve landed on my camera, never damaged it. Also great for carrying my iPhone (the medium size; small will take many digital cameras but not the iPhone). Under $20.

No hands!

Joe Bender nose wheelie-ing on my bookshelf

Planet Bike Superflash tail light. This little guy pumps out incredible brilliance from two AAA batteries that last a long long time. What I like most is the clip. It attaches to just about anything and really hangs on, which is good, because the traffic I ride in demands being seen. What I like second most: The on-off switch is situated and configured in a way it doesn’t accidentally get turned on while the light is rolling around in my backpack. $25.

Topeak Ratchet Rocket multi-tool. This is the only multi-tool I carry, and the only one I’ve found to be worth anything (I’ve tried ’em all). It’s a tiny little ratchet socket wrench with a bunch of fittings, including the main Allen sizes (2-6) and, get this, a T25 Torx (that’s right, the brake rotor). There’s also a chain tool. It all folds up nicely into a plastic case that fits in the palm of your hand and weighs about the same as a digital camera. $35.

Many other colors available

I mean, just how cool can you get???

Crank Brothers Power Pump. Small, light and powerful, the PP includes an air gauge and nifty two-stage inflation setting (one for volume, the other for pressure). The twist head takes either Schrader or Presta valves and stays put while you’re, er, cranking. Unlike other Crank Brothers products I’ve owned (pedals), it’s reliable too. Mine is at least three years old and still, er, cranking. I’ve never even had to relube it. $38.

ODI grips. For mountain bikers, ODI was the original non-slip, lock-on grip and still is the best despite a host of imitators. Now it comes in colors (including, of course, pink), and you can also get color anodized clamps (even custom etched). I like the Ruffians but ODI also offers the burlier Rogue model. $26.

Custom anodized valve stem caps. OK, this may seem a little ridiculous, but you can get valve caps to match your blingy color scheme from Purely Custom over the Web. I know this, because I have. They’re great caps, too, high quality and well-designed. They’re so great, I’ve had a couple of sets stolen, if you can believe that. $2.95 each and worth every cent.

Bike Brake. This one will truly impress. It’s a little but powerful elastic band that slips around the handlebar and brake lever, compressing the lever. So what, you say. When you’re trying to lean your bike against a wall or abutment, the Bike Brake keeps the front wheel from rolling and flopping. So the bike stays upright. It’s also advertised as a deterrent to theft but that’s a stretch. Back in the day there was a thing called the “Flick Stand” for road bikes (alas, no longer manufactured) that worked on the same principle. $3.

OK, that’s it for the gift suggestions from Bike Intelligencer this holiday season of 2009. Happy holidays! Now get out ‘n ride!

[In accordance with our review policy, all merchandise discussed was purchased over the counter.]

As Christmas nears, heartwarming bike stories appear

In Bicycling on December 13, 2009 at 2:49 am

For all of you who, like me, got our first bicycle as a Christmas present, this will bring a smile to your face and warm memory to your heart. Happy holidays everyone!

The Bicycle Man of Fayetteville NC has 1,000 bikes to give away.

In Los Altos CA, Cira Nickerson purchased 61 bikes over the past year to give to kids this Christmas.

In Atlantic City NJ, the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church has 200 bikes ready for under the tree.

Nearly 200 bikes to give away in Detroit.

Daily Roundup: Cars invade SF bike lanes, CA state parks still open, Amy & Steevo,

In Bicycle advocacy, Bicycle Commuting, Bicycling, Daily Roundup, Obama Bikes on December 7, 2009 at 1:34 am

Bicycle Retailer: So far bike vendors are saying it’s not as bad as last Christmas. You could knock me over with a feather, or even a double-butted spoke.

S.F.StreetsBlog: When bikes ride in car lanes, it’s get that damn bike outta my way! When cars drive in bike lanes, it’s get that damn bike outta my way!

Tom Stienstra: State parks staying open despite cutbacks.

Sent from a friend: The Thanksgiving conversation we’ve all had. on filtering forward

How many bikes do you own? If you’re about average, according to Robb’s survey, then I own twice as many bikes as you.

Police bias against cyclists explored in San Francisco

In Bicycle advocacy, Bicycle Commuting, Bicycling, Obama Bikes on December 6, 2009 at 7:32 pm

One pressing motivation behind Seattle-based Cascade Bicycle Club’s campaign to pass “vulnerable user” legislation seeking justice for cyclists injured or killed in car accidents is to force law-enforcement agencies to take bicycles seriously.

No one who has been involved in a police-reported accident doubts the entrenched bias against cyclists. The attitude can generally be summed up as, “Since some cyclists run red lights or otherwise do foolish things on the streets, the bicyclist is almost always at fault in an accident.”

Drivers of course run red lights and do stupid things all the time. If they hit another car and injure or kill the driver, they are cited. Only when they hit or kill a cyclist do they automatically get the benefit of the doubt, as well as, usually, the benefit of not even a ticket.

In San Francisco, S.F.StreetsBlog has a compelling post documenting baldly expressed anti-cyclist sentiment from the local police department.

It’s a good primer for anyone seeking to understand why the words “justice” and “cycling” have been mutually exclusive for so long, and the urgency behind Cascade’s campaign to unite them under the law. Time to ‘claim the lane’ on bike safety

Biking Bis: Seeking justice for bike riders in Washington State

Let There Be Justice

Christmas shopping for cyclists: A theoretical overview

In Bicycling, Mountain Biking on December 6, 2009 at 2:33 am

The issue for gift-giving to bike riders this season may be summed up in the epigrammatic Dylan lyric about need versus want (“Your debutante just knows what you neeeeed, I know what you waaaaannnt“). That special cyclist on your list may need a new pair of gloves. Or a chain for his or her bike. Or a reflector vest for riding at night.

But are these things they really want? Especially for, of all times, Christmas?, on the flip side, suggests a new Ibis Mojo HD for under the tree. It may well be something we all want for Christmas. But given that I have an Ibis Mojo in the basement already — which I don’t even get to ride in the winter because it’s just too cool a bike to get all muddy, squeaky and pivot-trashed — is a new HD something I really need?

Granted, the additional travel, beefed up rear end and matching color bling are all things that would come in handy in coming months, especially after Whistler opens the lifts sometime in June. I need another .8 of an inch of rearward boing. I need the stiffer pivot links for climbing prowess. I need a frame without the little scrapes and blemishes on the Mojo I have. And I really need for people to notice my bike and come up and talk to me about how much I like it, which they would most certainly do with the HD.

But even if someone were willing to spring $2400 to get me the HD — or, say, I bought it for my own Christmas present, which has been known to happen — there’s a problem.

On Thanksgiving Day I had the extreme good fortune to be introduced to Mr. Ibis himself, Scot Nicol, on the annual Appetite Seminar ride in Fairfax CA. And when I told him what I not only wanted but needed for Christmas, he just laughed. The HD is months away from production. I could not even place an advance order for one.

This made me feel like hey, I need this bike even worse than I thought I did. But Christmas is just not gonna happen.

So in the vein of more realistic, albeit lowered, expectations, and in recognition that need and want also are a function of fiscal resources, I’m going to be offering over the next few days a more modest rundown of gift suggestions for that special cyclist in your life — even if, as in my case, that special cyclist is yourself.

Daily Roundup: New mtb speed record, SF adds bike lane, stolen bikes & more

In Bicycle advocacy, Bicycling, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking, Obama Bikes, Rider Down on December 2, 2009 at 9:57 am

PinkBike: A new world speed record on a mountain bike! 131mph, which is just 21 mph faster than I’ve ever driven in a car.

SF.StreetsBlog: They’re dancing, and wheely-popping, in the streets of San Francisco, which just got its first bike lane in 3 years, thanks to a partial break in an absurd legal logjam preventing anything bike-related from moving forward. (Happy 1-year birthday to the StreetsBlog network btw.)

Vancouver BC police find cache of stolen bikes. Take a look at the list, your bike may be on it. Once I came back from a night concert in Vancouver to find my supposedly invincible inch-wide cable almost sawed through. Thankfully someone spooked the crooks before they could get the job done. I was less lucky in Portland, where pros stole my Trek Y-33 in a matter of moments. My second mountain bike, a Rockhopper, was stolen from a Vancouver hotel. But by that time I’d given it to my son-in-law.

Moral: Vancouver and Portland are the worst bike-theft cities anywhere, only maybe not in that order.

The NorCal and SoCal high school cycling leagues continue to amaze.

Biking Bis: Cyclists and climate change, from Gene Bisbee. Also worth checking while you’re over at his site is Gene’s report on his bum knee. You can’t ride a bike regularly without exposing yourself to knee problems, so we all commiserate. Hope you get well for the holidays Gene! (And keep that bike locked while riding in Vancouver.) cogently analyzes the inequities of law enforcement re bikes v. cars. This will continue to be a pressure point as more riders take to commuting and start knocking on City Halls for support. In Seattle, with a cycling-friendly mayor and City Council, we have high hopes of providing a progressive model for metros everywhere.

Daily Roundup: Easton recall, Sam Brown on TV, Part III “Missing Link,” & more

In Bicycling, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking on November 14, 2009 at 10:00 am

Easton recalls bikes because of piece-of-crap stems that break.

The saga of Sam Brown, the brilliant slopestylist who took his own life after being arrested for drug trafficking, makes CBC television.

Part III in SeattleLikesBikes wonderful series on the Burke-Gilman Trail’s “missing link” in Ballard.

There is justice in the world: Palo Alto cops track down a bike thief.

Fat Cyclist’s appeal: He’s Everyman on Wheels. Here his crew takes on Fuita — and yes, Fruita wins.

A second look at L.A. physician ‘bike rage’ case

In Bicycle advocacy, Bicycle Commuting, Bicycling, Obama Bikes on November 7, 2009 at 1:12 am

Bike Radar has a detailed report on the “landmark case” of the LA physician recently convicted for doorstopping cyclists. We see the conviction as significant but not breakthrough, since intent is already (and has been for some time) a judicial threshold for culpability in cycling collisions.

A real landmark will come when conviction does not require intent. As it stands, drivers can injure, maim and kill cyclists and pedestrians without even getting a traffic citation. Typically a traffic ticket is the most that can be issued, under the thinking that “accidents happen” and the cyclist/pedestrian may have contributed to the accident (even if it’s just by being “invisible”).

As we’ve written repeatedly, real justice for cyclists is possible only when the system appropriately confronts, deals with and metes out penalties for driver fault in cycling accidents. For a fuller understanding, see our report on Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club’s efforts and its recent Traffic Justice Summit.

All the above said, it looks like Dr. Thompson will get his due. The judge denied bail on grounds the unrepentant and contentious Thompson remains a threat to cyclists.

As if to punctuate the issue, notes results of recent study finding that you’re safer in a bike lane.